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Hot Oil: Prevent Accidents and Avoid Prosecution


It was recently reported that a well-known burger franchise in Ipswich had to pay nearly £40,000 after an employee was scalded with hot oil, even after receiving a thirty three percent discount for pleading guilty. The incident occurred when a young employee felt hot oil splashing onto himself, which resulted in him dropping the bucket and the hot oil splashing on to his colleague, causing him significant burns.

It was found that the business was negligent, as the manager had allowed a young employee to carry an open bucket of hot oil across the kitchen. This incident highlights the importance of risk assessment in the kitchen and the training of staff regarding the hazards they face.

Extra precautions must be taken to ensure that your employees are safe from injury in the kitchen.  Peter Christopher-Ohrt, Managing Director Technical Services, Food Alert Ltd, advises: “There is simply no safe way to carry hot oil. Employees must ensure that the oil has cooled down to below 40 degrees, which can take up to 12 hours. Therefore, it can never be safe to drain and carry the oil in a bucket soon after the fryer has been turned off as the oil won’t be cool enough.”

“In my experience, the carrying of hot oil is the primary cause of the most serious burns that occur in the kitchen. Employees carrying hot oil have been known to slip or trip and the hot oil has seriously scalded them or their colleagues causing horrendous injuries.”

“Precautionary control measures need to be taken. Employers must complete a risk assessment and ensure that staff are fully trained. In addition, we recommend that signage is displayed inside the fryers stating that oil must be cooled before draining or handling.”

Employees should also be aware that, even when the oil has been cooled the emptying of the fryer still poses a significant risk.

Peter continues: “The accidental spillage of oil around the fryer, or indeed anywhere in the kitchen, could lead to slips. If employees slip on the oil, they could injure themselves by reaching out and touching or grabbing hot surfaces or appliances, which could cause severe burning.”

Avoid the most serious scalds and burns in the kitchen by, never carrying hot oil and taking care when draining and carrying oil. The consequences can be severe – you will face huge fines and your employees could be seriously injured.

For further information and expert advice on ways to reduce risk in your kitchens, either contact, if a customer, our Advice Line or call us on 020 7244 1900 or email


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